Ryan never fails to entertain and inspire.
I always look forward to new story from Ryan Bracha. Very few new and even fewer Indie-writers have the imagination Bracha possesses or the guts to tell a story uncompromisingly. Most new writers find a preferred writing style (narrative, viewpoint etc) and stick with it; Ryan has absolutely no fear and uses many engaging writng styles. John Niven is a standout at this as were Chris Brookmyre and Irvine Welsh early in their careers. Ryan has a very Scottish feel to his writing, in that the characters and situations he creates are invariably entertaining, challenging, complex often brutally exposed and often funny as hell.
Awaiting a Bracha publication is comparable to what Monday mornings (new release day, pre-downloads) were like for a long-term music fan. I don’t get quite the same satisfaction ‘ripping open’ a Bracha book as I did flicking through 45s and later CDs, but it’s close enough to that excitement for now.
With The Banjo String Snapped But The Band Played On, Ryan continues his series of short-stories and his run of form. Whilst I preferred Bracha’s previous book, Baron Catastrophe and The King of Jackals, I found plenty in this book to entertain and engage with.
Ryan’s writing is experimental, he takes chances and is developing with each story, but I had trouble connecting with this particular tale. This is no fault of the author, his prose is as fresh and gripping as ever; but rather as the reader, I found the multiple changes of viewpoint difficult to follow, mainly because I’m a bit simple at times.
I’m docking Bracha a single rating star for one main reason.
I desperately wanted and perhaps expected the main characters to be the actual Jesus, Superman etc and was gutted that they were merely some mates on a Stag-do. I suspect this says more about me than it does about Ryan’s book, but it’s my review and I wanted the real Jesus, so four stars it is.
With the quality of Ryan’s writing he only has himself to blame; he continuously readjusts the readers expectation of his books, each brings something different than the last, and I wanted more from this. Despite my own personal preferences, this is a very good read; smart, vapid and concise writing at its best, but next time give me more Messiah.